London, UK -- Burma Human Rights Network strongly welcomes efforts by the Gambia to bring Burma before the International Court of Justice for violating the UN’s Genocide Convention. The move brings hope to the Rohingya who have faced decades of severe persecution by the country’s military and government. In 2016 and 2017 a major military campaign that involved countless cases of rape, murder, and torture displaced nearly a million Rohingya from the country.
“We are extremely grateful to the Gambia for bringing this case to the ICJ. This action has given tremendous hope to those who have suffered so greatly and found the world to be cold and indifferent to their plight. We call on the ICJ to adopt the case so that justice for the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities in Burma can finally be a reality,” said BHRN’s Executive Director, Kyaw Win.
London, U.K. -- With the 34th ASEAN Summit occurring this weekend BHRN strongly urges member nations to use their platforms to hold Burma accountable for crimes committed against minorities inside the country. While ASEAN takes a non-interference stance on internal affairs of member states, the actions of Burma are so particularly egregious that an exception must be made. The actions committed against minorities in Burma have also had an especially detrimental impact on neighbouring states as well, as millions of refugees fleeing conflict have sought refuge and safety over the years.
“ASEAN nations are in a unique position of influence to hold Burma accountable for actions which cause severe harm to minority populations and disturb the well being of ASEAN nations. The many conflicts in Burma have spilled over into neighbouring states and as conflict and human rights violations continue this will only get worse. ASEAN nations must use their platform now to voice concerns to prevent even greater tragedies and disruptions from occurring,” Said Kyaw Win, BHRN’s Executive Director.
London, UK -- After a group of Rohingya fleeing recent violence and robberies, BHRN is alarmed that the current situation may result in further displacement Rohingya still living in Burma. On October 7th, reports and video emerged of Rohingya families who said their property had been looted and livestock killed by unknown armed men in Sin Khon Tine Village, Rathedaung Township. Shortly after families from the same area fled to the border region to attempt Bangladesh as refugees. The following day, a Rohingya man in Buthidaung township was shot in the head and killed while fishing, reportedly by Burmese soldiers. These incidents are occurring as a conflict between the Arakan Army and the Burmese Army continues and seems to be used as a cover for violence against Rohingya in nearby areas.
As the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) proceeds with its 42nd Regular Session, the human rights concerns in Burma (Myanmar) remain urgent. The Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh, following a genocidal campaign by Burma’s army, have seen no changes in circumstances or policies that would allow them to return safely as citizens with full rights consistent with other minorities in Myanmar. The Rohingya still living in Burma face regular human rights violations, attempts to delegitimise them through National Verification Cards, and are cut off from aid and NGOs offering life-sustaining assistance. Burma’s civil war in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine State has intensified during the past year with signs of the conflict worsening as civilians are displaced, murdered, tortured, and arbitrarily imprisoned. Burma’s non-Rohingya Muslim community continues to face increasing systemic oppression which has drastically eroded their basic human rights. Student groups, journalists, and peaceful anti-war movements have all faced harsh crackdowns by the government and security forces despite the international perception that Burma is more democratic now than in the previous years.
London, UK -- The Burma Human Rights Network is calling on Bangladesh to rescind policies that would stop Rohingya refugees from purchasing sim cards. The Rohingya depend on sim cards to communication their plight to the world and to contact friends and family living outside the camps. The sale of sim cards to refugees was already been regulated to prevent sales to anyone without a National Identity Card, but Bangladesh has now taken the extraordinary steps this week of working with private telecommunications companies to achieve both of the following outcomes. First, to shut off access to areas within the refugee camps during evenings and second enforcing the blocking of sales of sim cards to refugees.
There have been recent incidents of violence in the camps, the origin of which is at times unclear; in some cases, Bangladesh suggests it was the fault of the Rohingya. In other cases evidence suggests that the violence resulted from unprovoked attacks against them by Bangladesh natives. However, there is speculation that the crackdown on sim cards may be in response to a rally held by the Rohingya on August 25th. That rally was organised to recognize 2 years since the Burmese army began a genocidal campaign against the civilian population in 2017. The rally drew over 200,000 refugees who were well organized and by all accounts it was a peaceful event.